Sunday, February 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Taxi driver murders NRI, injures wife
Car thrown in Sidhwan canal
By Jupinderjit Singh and Loveleen Bains

DORAHA, Feb 3 — In a gruesome murder tale, a Nabha-based taxi driver allegedly killed an NRI with a motive to rob. After killing the man, Mr Sanjay Puri, the taxi driver tried to show the killing as a case of accident by throwing the Maruti car containing the dead body into the Sidhwan canal near Doraha early this morning.

The alleged murderer also injured the wife of the deceased man and had almost forced the woman to accompany him to Gujarat. Fortunately, the woman made good her escape when she managed to convince the alleged killer to allow her to show her injuries to a doctor in this town. The driver, sensing trouble ran away and was still untraced. He had taken away with him about Rs 20,000 in cash and jewellery worth a lakh.

The Doraha police has registered a case of murder against the driver Bittu. The body has been sent for post-mortem. The statement of the deceased’s wife, who was still in a state of shock and trauma, has been recorded.

According to the woman Tanu Kanta, who hails from a village in Nawanshahr district, she was married to Mr Sanjay Puri of Phagwara about an year ago. Her husband, who was an NRI working at an airport in New York, had emigrated to the USA just after the marriage. He had returned in the first week of January to take his wife along with him.

The woman, weeping inconsolably, said as they had to frequent New Delhi to get the visa, her husband had hired a taxi since last month. The driver Bittu was with them since then. She said all papers were complete and they were set to fly to the USA on February 2 but due to some pressing family engagements they had gone to the national Capital to extend the day of departure.

When they were returning last night the behaviour of the driver changed and he had become very rude with them. When the car reached Panipat, the couple requested the driver to halt at some hotel as they wanted to spend the night there. However, the driver started abusing them and threatened them to keep quite or he would kill them.

However, the couple managed to force him to stop the car but the driver hit the husband on his head with a rod and also injured the woman’s legs. He then put the injured man at the back of the car and forced the woman to sit with him in the front. According to the woman, the driver kept on threatening her and also slapped her in between.

After reaching Doraha, the driver left the GT Road and then cleverly threw the car and the body into the Sidhwan canal. He then took the terrified woman to the Doraha bus-stand asking her to accompany him to Gujarat. The woman said she was getting acute pain and could not walk unless she got treatment. When she was consulting a doctor in the clinic and began telling her the real story, the driver fled away.

Mr Ashish Kapoor, SHO, Payal, said the police had got the address of the driver and the car (DL-3CB-7465) had been retrieved from the canal. He said robbery seemed to be the prime motive behind the murder.


Cash, material continue to flow in
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 3 — The people of Ludhiana city were all set to create a new record in service to the suffering humanity, as each and every organisation from trade, industry, education, social, religious fields, other voluntary institutions and individuals have come forward in a big way to contribute to the relief fund in the shape of cash and material for the earthquake victims of Gujarat. According to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S. K. Sandhu, the contributions for the earthquake victims from the city in cash and kind till date have crossed Rs 1.5 crore mark, which includes cash donations worth more than Rs 50 Lakh.

Mr Sandhu, today flagged off two truckloads of hosiery goods and other essential items, valued at around Rs 30 lakh. The consignment comprised brand new sweaters, other hosiery goods, food items and articles of daily need, contributed by members of Advance Hosiery Association. The members of the association, under the leadership of Mr Raaz Thakur and Mrs Naina Thakur left for Gujarat along with the trucks of material to hand over themselves the relief items to the actual victims of the earthquake and to assess about the other requirements of the victims which could be mobilised later on from the city.

Giving details of the material sent in today, the Deputy Commissioner informed that it contained 15,000 pieces of woollen hosiery goods worth Rs 25 lakh, 50 tents costing Rs 1 lakh, 6000 Kg rice, plastic bags, 100 kg. pulses, 12000 candles, 10 quintals wheat flour, medicines worth Rs 30,000, 100 kg tea, 100 kg milk powder and 800 kg sugar.

Among others who were present on the occasion included Mr S R Kaler, ADC, Mr. Kuldeep Singh, SDM (East) and Mr Harsuhinder Singh, GA to D C.

The management of Gurdawara Akalgarh Sahib, Chaura Bazar, headed by Jathedar Surjan Singh Thekedar presented a cheque of Rs 1 lakh towards relief funds to the Deputy Commissioner. Mr Hira Singh Gabria, MLA, Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, MLA, Jathedar Swarn Singh, President, Gurdawara Akalgarh and Bibi Kuldeep Kaur, member, SGPC were also present on this occasion.

The Urban Development Cell of the Indian Youth Congress dispatched four truck load of non-perishable food items, valued at around Rs.8 Lakh from Ghumar Mandi for Gujarat via Delhi. According to Mr Pawan Diwan, Chairman of the Urban Development Cell, the Youth Congress activists had put up a three day camp, with the active involvement of the residents and shopkeepers of the area, to collect relief material for the Gujarat quake victims.

The employees of Punjab Agricultural University have decided to contribute one-day salary to the relief fund for the earthquake victims. A general body meeting of the PAU Employees Union, presided over Mr D.P. Maur expressed heartfelt condolence with the quake victims and wished speedy recovery to those injured.

The employees of district office of Markfed have donated two days’ salary towards the relief fund for the Gujarat earthquake victims. The Markfed Employees Welfare Club has forwarded a sum of Rs 51,000 to Mr D.S. Bains, Managing Director, Markfed, being their contribution to the quake relief fund. In addition, the field staff of Markfed has contributed a truckload of rice, 500 new blankets, old woollens, shoes and other essential items for the quake victims. The material was flagged off by Mr Bal Mukand Sharma, District Manager, Markfed.

The District Youth Congress organised a ‘sarb dharam’ prayer meeting at Congress Bhawan here in the memory of quake victims and to wish speedy recovery to the injured. The DYC President, Mr Parminder Mehta informed that the Youth Congress functionaries were collecting relief material, which would be dispatched to Gujarat.

The Ludhiana Citizens’ Council have donated 500 blankets to the district administration for the Gujarat earthquake victims, according to Mr Darshan Arora, Chairman of the council.

According to Mr Parvin Malhotra, city convener, Bajrang Dal, a special meeting will be convened on Sunday in the office of Vishwa Hindu Parishad to pay homage to the quake victims. He has appealed to the people to observe fast on Feb 4 to pray for the peace to departed souls and to contribute liberally for the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of devastation.


Youth Cong gears up for relief work
From Our Correspondent

MANDI GOBINDGARH, Feb 3 — All district presidents of the Youth Congress in the state have been directed to send one truckload of relief material from their respective districts for the earthquake victims to the party headquarters in Delhi from where it will be airlifted to Gujarat. This was stated by Mr Devinder Singh Baboo, state president of the Youth Congress, here today.

He further added that 30,000 blankets had already been sent by the Youth Congress. Shopkeepers of Amloh road have sent a draft of Rs 21,063 for the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

One truckload of relief material, containing blankets, quilts and eatables, was sent from here today for Delhi. Mr Kulwinder Singh Ambeymajra, president, Congress Sewa Dal (youth wing), Punjab, has decided to send one truckload of relief items tomorrow.


CMC camps in Gujarat
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 3 — The medical team of the CMC Hospital in the city, which had been rushed to provide medical aid to earth quake victims in Gujarat, has established two camp hospitals — one at Gandhidham and the other at Kandla Port Trust Hospital, about 50 km from Bhuj.

According to information received here by CMC management, Dr Vijay Obed, head of the team, has intimated that a large number of orthopaedic and vascular surgical operations were to be undertaken. The team has examined over 250 quake victims as outdoor patients and carried out 45 operations under anaesthesia on the first day of arrival itself.


Relief for quake-hit
From Our Correspondent

AMLOH, Feb 3 — Ten trucks carrying relief material consisting of 107 quintal rice, 94 quintal wheat, biscuits and dry milk packages worth Rs 70,000, tea leaves worth Rs 10,000, achar worth Rs 5,000, candles worth Rs 30,000, blankets 4200, quilts 1710, besides pulses, gur, bedding, utensils, torches 200 for the earth quake victims of Gujarat through the Deputy Commissioner of Fatehgarh Sahib were flagged off today, by Mr R. S. Jangoo, SDM, Amloh.

Mr Jangoo, has thanked the Municipal Council, and Karyana Association, Amloh, sarpanches and patwaris of the area for collecting the above said material. He further said senior citizens of Mandi Gobindgarh had decided to contribute Rs 1 lakh and Municipal Council, Mandi Gobindgarh, Rs 2 lakh through drafts which are being sent shortly.


Step against fake fund-raisers
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Feb 3 — To control the menace of fake fund-raisers, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr B.S. Sudan, has asked all social organisations and individuals in the district to get the permission of the SDM concerned before collecting funds for earthquake relief. 

He has also urged the people not to give donations to such unidentified persons who do not have the SDM’s permission. He said criminal cases would be registered against those who collected funds without permission. 

He urged the people to inform officials on telephone numbers 30215 and 21340 and Mr I.S. Randhawa, SP (H), on telephone numbers 30110 and 30208 if they found anyone collecting funds in cash without issuing any receipt or without the SDM’s permission.


Kidnapped boy escapes, finds shelter in city
Tribune News Service

DORAHA, Feb 3 — Mr Gurmail Singh, a telephone attendant at the residence of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, has given shelter to a lost boy who had been kidnapped by a truck driver. The boy, Farooq Ahmed belongs to a village in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The boy said he studied in a school called Mukte-Aazam in Poonch and lived in a nearby village. He said he had been kidnapped by a truck driver from Poonch after he had missed the last bus to his village and decided to hitchhike. The truck driver offered him a lift and gave him something to eat that made him unconscious. When he woke up, he found himself away from his state. When he cried for help, the driver forced him to remain silent. The terrifed boy, however, managed to escape when the truck driver stopped for having lunch near Ludhiana.

Gurmail Singh found him roaming about in tattered clothes and brought him home. The boy has been with him for the past two weeks. All efforts to trace the boy’s parents have failed. Mr Gurmail said he had also informed the Jammu police about this, but he was yet to receive a reply.

The boy was taken to the Deputy Commissioner today, who directed his staff to buy him clothes from the Red Cross funds. The DC said he had talked to his counterpart in Jammu in this regard. He had also asked two persons to accompany the boy to Jammu and ensure that he reached his home.


Complainant in the dock
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 3 — In what may perhaps be the first case of its kind in the city, the District Consumer Disputes and Redressal Forum dismissed the complaint against the Oriental Insurance Company and directed the complainant M/s Kashmir Crockery House to pay Rs 2,000 to the company.

The complainant had stated before the forum that he had got a fire insurance policy for his crackers stall worth Rs 2,50,000 at Pakhowal Road on the occasion of Divali last year. The fire policy was valid from October 15 to November 15, 1999.

A fire broke out on the premises on October 25. It was extinguished by the fire brigade but the whole stock was lost in the fire. After that the complainant lodged the claim for the said loss but the insurance company refused to pay the assured money.

The complainant stated in his complainant that he had given a blank cheque to the company for the premium of the fire policy and insurance of his household goods. The complainant stated before the forum that he asked his bank to stop the payment because the company demanded Rs 2,300 as premium of the fire policy, but the company wrongfully filled the amount of Rs 3,529. He alleged that despite many requests to the company, it refused to pay the compensation.

The company had taken the plea that as the complainant, himself stopped the payment of the premium, the company was not liable for any risk.

The forum observed that the conduct of the complainant was not fair and lodged a frivolous litigation as he stopped the payment of the cheque and lodged the claim. The forum held that the contract became void and the complainant could not be called consumer because no payment was made.


Private candidates face problems
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 3 — Many students appearing as private candidates for Class 10 examination were unable to appear in practical examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), which commenced here today.

Even as the students managed to procure their roll numbers after much effort, some school authorities refused to take their test on the ground that they had not received any cut list from the PSEB, which gives details of the students appearing as private candidates.

Several ‘private’ students received their roll numbers yesterday, while others had gone all the way to Mohali to get their roll numbers and yet some others received their roll numbers from the local board office this morning, causing much panic among the students and parents.

Ms Binny Dhawan, a parent, while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, said, ‘‘My daughter had not received her roll number till yesterday. We were told to collect the number from the local board office at 7 am. When we reached there, lots of students with their parents had come up but the board officers turned up at 8 am. When we finally got the roll number and information regarding the centre, we rushed there as the examination had already started there.’’

‘‘However, the school authorities told us to wait for two hours so that the regular students of the school could come out. Private students, they said, would appear in the afternoon batch. After three hours of wait, we were told that the examination would be held on Tuesday,’’ she added.

The students are not alone in having a rough time at the hands of PSEB, the school authorities conducting these examination too had to face several problems. Mr R.K. Khanna, Principal, SDP Senior Secondary School, said, ‘‘We did not receive any cut list and thus we had no information regarding the privately appearing students. We tried to adjust some of them today, while we had to tell others to turn up on Monday and Tuesday.’’

Mr Harcharan Singh, Principal, Ramgarhia Senior Secondary School, said, ‘‘There was much confusion at our school in the morning. While several ‘private’ students had turned up at our school, we did not have appropriate arrangements. We had not received the cut list and no groups were formed in advance. However, we took the roll numbers from the students and prepared our own cut list and in the process some time was lost. After some time, the private students were given their seats and they all settled down and appeared for the examination.’’


Environment body opposes ladhowal project
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 3 — The Environment and Health Protection Society, Punjab, has submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister and the state Chief Minister urging them to intervene and save the forests and animals in the Ladhowal Seed Farm. It has urged them to cancel the proposed Industrial Complex and declare the area as a forest reserve or sanctuary.

The Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) is developing a substantial part of the area as a new focal point where the polluting dyeing and other units are proposed to be shifted. The centre has transferred about 1,250 acres out of total 2,700 acres of seed farm to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and the remaining area to the Punjab government.

Mr Gurcharanjit, President, Environment and Health Protection Society, Punjab, in his letter has pointed out that the move to hand over the land to the PAU for research and agriculture was not objectionable, but the transfer of land for the polluting and non-polluting industries will have serious repercussions for the ecology of the area.

Mr Gurcharanjit has pointed out that cutting of forests will leave animals such as sambhar, wild boar, jackals, mongoose, peacock, deer, homeless. ‘‘The area under forests in the state is already vanishing resulting in scarcity of rainfall. The air pollution is touching new heights in the area. Setting up of industries at the bank of the Sutlej will pollute the water also, since PSIEC has decided not to set up effluent plants itself. It will just provide land to the industry groups for these plants, and the past experience shows that most of the industries avoid the establishment of treatment plants’’, he said.

The society has urged the Prime Minister to intervene to save the reserved forests. It has requested that the industrial units may be shifted to some other place and the area should rather be made a forest reserve or a sanctuary to attract tourists and to protect the diminishing wildlife in the state.

On the other hand, Mr Bharat Bir Singh Sobti, President, Hari Bhari National Environment Protection Society, has urged the state government to ensure that the treatment plants are set up besides the industrial units in the area. He warned that in case the steps to control pollution were not taken by the industry as well as the PSIEC, then they would take necessary steps.

Industry observers have alleged that PSIEC has buckled under the pressure of industrial organisations. PSIEC had called a meeting of the industry representatives last month, in which Ms Surjit Kaur Sandhu, Managing Director, PSIEC, had proposed that PSIEC would set up Community Effluent Treatment Plants and would charge the cost, but the industrialists had argued that the issue of treatment plants should be left solely to the individual units. Rather they should be provided free land for the treatment plants and charged less for the industrial plots.

PSIEC has reportedly agreed to the proposal. It has decided to sell the plots at a cost of about Rs 650 per square yard instead of Rs 1,250 per square yard, the cost that was proposed earlier. It would have provided effluent treatment and water supply facilities in that case. However, it will not provide these facilities under the revised agreement.

Mr Vinod Thapar, President, Knitwear Club, agreed that the forest cover was necessary for the city as well as the state. He said, ‘‘We had not asked the state government to provide land at Ladhowal. It is the government which wants to shift the industry from the city limits to the city outskirts in view of the Supreme Court’s decision to shift the polluting industries outside the residential area in Delhi. We may have to face the same situation in the near future as there are a number of polluting units in the city.’’

Mr Surinder Singla, a chartered accountant, like many other people in the city is quite sceptic about the whole project. He alleged that once the plots are sold at Rs 650 per square yard or so, the people will resale these and make money out of the venture and most of the units would not shift to that low-lying area, and if shifted these would pollute Sutlej and the surrounding villages.


Congressmen warn combine against poll rigging
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 3 — The nomination of Mr Rajmohinder Singh Majitha, a member of the Rajya Sabha, as the SAD(B) candidate for byelection to the Majitha constituency, has caused frustration among the ruling party workers and many others, aspiring for the party ticket.

This was stated by Mr K. K. Bawa, secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and Mr Pawan Diwan, Chairman, Urban Development Cell of Indian Youth Congress, in a joint statement here today. Claiming that all sections of the electorate, including their own party workers, were opposed to the SAD (B), they said the wounds of farmers, inflicted by distress sale of paddy, were yet to heal. On the top of it all, sky-rocketing prices of diesel, fertiliser and other farm inputs had added to the woes of farmers.

The SAD-BJP coalition, during its four years of ‘misrule’, had failed to provide any kind of relief to other sections, including traders, shop keepers, industrialists, employees, workers and students. Mr Diwan dared the SAD (B) leadership to distribute copies of their election manifesto of 1997, so that the voters could know the real truth themselves. They warned the ruling combine against any attempts to misuse official machinery or to rig the polls.

Mr Balraj Singh Sekhon, vice-president, District Congress Committee (Urban), has criticised the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for exploiting the religious sentiments of the people in Majitha to derive political benefits. He said in a statement that Mr Badal was raising issues like Sikh riots of 1984, Operation Bluestar and the Sikh religion in the course of election campaign in Majitha, which was reprehensible.

He said the ruling party functionaries, including the Chief Minister himself, were resorting to these political gimmicks in order to cover up the failure of the government on all fronts. Not only all sections of the people were desperate to oust the government at the first available opportunity, the deteriorating law and order situation all over the state, had created a fear psychosis among the masses.

Meanwhile, SAD Youth Wing general secretary, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, has claimed that the SAD (B) candidate in Majitha had an upper hand and the party workers were propagating the policies and programmes of the party among the voters through constant contact. On the other hand, the Congress rank and file were in low spirits and their senior leaders were yet to make a presence in the electoral scene.


Hervey did Ludhiana proud
by M. S. Cheema

IF I were asked to prepare a list of 100 persons who served Ludhiana as best as they could, I would include the name of Principal A.C.C. Hervey. Again, desired to furnish one more list of such persons as did Ludhiana proud, I will include the above name among others. Directed to shortlist the top ten, past and present, residents of Ludhiana, I shall include A.C.C. Hervey, without a second thought. The reason is truth; no fiction. Any argument, becomes instant logic. Nature has made everybody different. Mr Hervey discovered the difference as an element within the core of his being. He never behaved as a superior person, nor ever felt inferior to anyone. He knew he was different. He did things differently, thereby honestly. He was honest to himself, he knew his self. To prove he discovered the truth, in the first instance, I say that he gave the city its Government College.

He selected the site keeping the future needs in mind. He legally got the vast tract of land, took physical possession, brought a blueprint of architecture from England, supervised construction for years, over-ruled construction engineers of P.W.D. as they departed from the plan and told the contractors to replace low quality material as and when found being used. Besides, he kept on cheering up the workers. To declare the first phase closed, he installed the historic college bell, posterity nicknamed it, Hervey Big Ben! All that is contributed by this college mostly directly and partly indirectly goes to the credit of this great man who was British by birth, Indian by service. He was a rare universalist having a humane heart, gifted with a sharp intellect, keen mind and a truly blessed soul.

No building-up a case, this. To reach the truth let us read this very brief list of alumni: Harkrishan Lall (Internationally acknowledged modern painter-artist), Sahir Ludhianvi, Gen. T.N. Raina C.O.A.S., Commander-in-Chief, Indian Army, a highly decorated soldier, Dr Satish Dhawan (space-scientist), Mohan Sehgal (Bollywood fame), Mr Justice A.D. Koshal (Supreme Court of India), Mr Justice Mohd. Sadeeq (Chief Justice of Sharia, Pakistan), Gen. G.S. Buch (decorated war hero) and others carry the Hervey Seal. They were directly influenced by the great academician who headed a great team of teachers. Thereby, Principal Hervey is maker of those who do Ludhiana proud to start with and the whole of India! This fact is argument and logic by itself.

During the Raj, a few services carried rare prestige: I.C.S. (Indian Civil Services), I.M.S. (Indian Medical Service), I.E.S. (Indian Education Service), I.P. (Imperial Police), etc. Mr Hervey had a brilliant academic record with a master’s in history. He was an outshining luminary of the academic and educational annals. He learnt, mastered and taught history; it is the history of educational annals of Ludhiana, he created through his dedication that outlives him, survives him till date.

Ludhiana being a small town amidst a struggling countryside that could not afford the luxury of higher education between the period of two great World Wars. Hervey could not have the best. He could exercise very little choice. He made the best of what he had! This man of history, earns an honourable place in history. Including his name makes the list meaningful, exclusion takes away credibility.

Mr Hervey knew the importance of educational infrastructure. He converted wasteland into green land. The bushes and shrubs yielded place to lawns and flower beds. He led the collective voluntary labour of willing staff and students. His simple living and high thinking stood by him to be accepted by his staff to be further followed by the students. He beautified the campus, imported seeds and plants by paying from his own pocket. It was his belief that the outer world provided atmosphere to inspire, the inner-world creates environments to discover and to aspire.

He practically balanced the two. He was always punctual. He never demoralised a late-comer, his presence was enough! He would seldom remind or warn. Paper work was minimum. College remained humming with activities: Morning jerks, lecture-work, games, sports, hobbies of many kinds, even for the girls.

He encouraged excursions. He guided education tour as an expert with an eye on widening vision through broadening horizons. He had the rare insight to discover talent. Had a sympathetic attitude to help the needy. There are scores of stories which reduce fiction to frailty lending power to truth. A boy came for the job of a daftri (salary Rs 15/-). He advised him to join college, instead. Helped him to graduate.

The man retired as a Major General! He was always sounded for a better station/posting, he gently refused. He had married a German lady who insisted on returning to Europe. He remained here till his retirement. His wife left. He supported her decision, supported her financially till death. He chose to retire here itself. He wrote to the government to send a successor of his choice. Principal of U. Karamet, I.E.S., was requested. Mr Hervey himself persuaded Karamet, who honoured his wish accepting Ludhiana for Bombay. His second choice was Mr H.C. Kathpalia, who occupied the chair in 1949 obeying a silent prayer. Mr Hervey was always health-conscisous and never money-minded. When stricken with bad cold, he would attend to work at his office in residence on the campus. Health he called the foundation, walls to him meant mental power to support a roof of progress. His mortal remains lie buried in a cemetery in Wales, UK.


Time to visit Tiger Safari

TIGER Safari here is stretched out on 25 acres. Since 1993 people here have been delighted by tigers, black bucks, sambhars, rabbits and lots of peacocks in the safari.

The visitors visit Tiger Safari, War Museum and Hardy’s World in one round. Watching tigers Chintu, Mintu, Reeta, Bimla basking in the sun amuses the visitors. The driver of the van, Purshotam Singh, called out to Mintu, one of the naughty tigers there. Five tigers are male and six female. Mr Sanjay Thapar was at the safari and said, “We are coming after darshans of Mata Vaishnu Devi and now we have come to see her sawari, the tiger.”

The cubs were born in captivity in 1995. Sources disclose that each tiger is given 10 kg of meat which is brought here from Saharanpur. The black bucks were born here. As they grew up, they turned black. The black bucks are fed black gram. The sambhars feast on fodder.

It is indeed good picnic spot. Yet not many people visit it on the week days. During Christmas holidays, 400-500 people were here. The Wild Life Department has given the contract of conducting the visit to safari to a private company. The company has two buses. If one bus does not return within 10 minutes, the other bus leaves for its search. In case animals take ill, PAU veterinary doctors or the Director, Chattbir Zoo, are consulted.

Mostly the tigers sit lazily with a far away look in their eyes. At 5 o’clock, a bell is rung. It is dinner time for the tigers. The smell of meat takes them to the enclosure where they are locked for the night. The two watering holes are cleaned on Mondays when safari remains closed.

At the entrance, scores of peacocks move about. They keep tigers active for they love chasing them.
— AA


Electricity bill issued on Jan 26
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 3 — Mr P. D. Sharma, President, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Punjab), has alleged that Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has mentioned January 26 as the date of issue on some electricity bills to some of the consumers this time. This day, being a national holiday under Negotiable Instrument Act and no office is supposed to be open on that day. “How could board’s office issue bill on a national holiday?” he asked. It meant that fictitious date had been shown on the bills. Moreover, there were many holidays between the issue date shown and the last date of payment. It was a case of harassment of the consumers.

He has alleged that PSEB continued to squeeze consumers despite court orders. Some time back the court had ruled that consumers should get a clear cut time of two weeks from the date of delivery of electricity bills till the last date fixed for the payments. This was done under Section 91 of the court of civil procedure. The court had also remarked that PSEB distributed bills only one week in advance or sometimes even two or three days before the last date particularly when there were consecutive holidays in between. Further the court had observed that bills were misdelivered or lost resulting in levy of penalty on consumers.

The court had directed PSEB to despatch or hand over the bills to the bill distributors strictly on the date of issue and these would have to be delivered to the consumers within two days of the issue or within time limit provided under instructions. The court further directed the board to follow the instructions in letter and spirit and if needed employ more distributors. PSEB was also advised to be sympathetic and liberal in such cases.

Mr Sharma said it was quite unfortunate that in spite of court’s directions the PSEB was resorting to unfair practices so far as the distribution of bills was concerned. Instance of excesses of PSEB particularly on Industrial consumers were multiplying. Many industrial consumers had been put in financial trouble by PSEB through arbitrary actions.


Non-payment of dues resented
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Feb 3 — Resentment prevails among the commission agents of Khamano Mandi over the non-payment of other dues for paddy purchased by Markfed and the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation during the last paddy season. Moreover, about 6,000 paddy bags purchased by these agencies are still lying in the open in the mandi.

A delegation of the Arhtiya Association, led by its district president, Mr Surjit Singh Sahi, met the DFSC yesterday and apprised her of the fact that an amount of more than Rs 60 lakh was still pending with these agencies. They said if these agencies failed to clear their payments within a week, a legal notice would be served to them.

The DFSC assured the delegation that she had written to the Director, Food and Civil Supplies, as well as to the MD, Markfed, and PSWC, in this regard.


Beggars, for life
By D.B.Chopra

LUDHIANA, Feb 3 — Jogeshwar Paswan , a Bihari in his early fifties, came to the city about three months ago to find his 30-year-old missing son, who had left home after a family tiff. He visited all the likely places but failed to locate his son anywhere. Meanwhile, he ran out of whatever money he had on him. He tried to find some work, but nobody wanted to employ an old man.

To satiate his hunger, he had no option but to join the band of beggars outside the Mata Rani temple near the Ghanta Ghar. Now for the past couple of months, during the day, Jogeshwar Paswan hangs around the temple, looking for charity in the form of eatables and money while spending nights in a market verandah near the Ghanta Ghar.

Since he does not want to spend the rest of his life begging, he plans to return to his village, whenever he has enough money to do so, possibly by Holi.

Yet, there are many among the queue for whom begging outside the temple has become a way of life. Maya is a woman of about 25, but looks older. She leaves her home in Killa Mohalla every morning with her two little children, a boy and a girl, to beg outside the temple while her husband picks saleable garbage from the city streets. She is an illiterate and does not even know her real age. She has no hope of seeing better days.

Guddi Bai, a woman from Rajasthan, who lives around the temple with her three small children, is just one of the scores of beggars, who are a permanent part of the scene outside the temple.

She had arrived in the city a couple of years ago, looking for her husband who had gone crazy due to poverty. She could not find him. These days, she herself looks like a maniac as she stares with expressionless, vacant eyes into the air. Her only concern is that the children get enough to eat.

Other famous temples and gurdwaras of the town, such as the Dandi Swami and Dukh Niwaran, where free food is available round the clock, are also favoured by beggars. There is no dearth of charity in this industrial city, where well-to-do businessmen like to donate a certain part of their profits for the ‘welfare of the mankind’.

Does charity lie only in filling hungry stomachs? What about Guddi Bai’s innocent children ? Do the rich of the city have any plans for their education or do they just prefer these children to grow up only to beg for their children one day?


Witnesses say husband wasn’t the man
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 3 — The case of murder of a Patiala girl, whose body was fished from Sidhwan Canal on January 24, has taken a new turn. Two persons who saw her roaming about near the canal half-an-hour before her body was found, have said the woman’s husband was not the man who had been seen last with her.

The woman’s husband, Devinder Singh, had been arrested on the complaint of the woman’s father. The case had been registered as that of dowry death. However, as the eyewitnesses have not identified him, it means that the real murderer is still at large.

The police sources said they had got some clues to the identity of the man who had been reportedly close to the woman. Devinder Singh had been saying all this time that when his wife had died, he had gone to drop someone in his taxi. Inderpal Singh, owner of Sargodha Taxi Service here was his alibi.

The woman, Inderjit Kaur, according to the police, did not enjoy good relations with her husband and in-laws. On January 24, she disappeared from her house and her body was found in the canal that evening. The police arrested her husband after this, but the woman’s in-laws were released on bail.

The two persons had seen a Sikh youth with her near the canal before she jumped into it or was thrown into it. It was being suspected that this Sikh youth was her husband, but now this theory might be ruled out.


Bad luck follows bad season for Tibetans
By Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Feb 3 — Tibetan hosiery traders who buy goods from here to sell these in north India are facing a lot of hardships these days. Their goods were seized at the local railway station on December 5 by the CBI and the officials of the Excise and Taxation Department.

Mr Kundak, one of the traders, said, “It was sheer bad luck that our sacks were at the station along with other hosiery consignments that day. Though we had paid Rs 1,000 per sack as the sales tax, 13 sacks were seized. Each sack contains goods worth Rs 20,000 and we sell these at Bikaner. We told the officials that we had paid the taxes, but they did not listen to us. For the past month-and-a-half, we have been visiting the station everyday to get our goods back. We got these back yesterday after paying Rs 7,000 per sack as penalty, but our problems have not ended. We take loan from lalas (hosiery traders) and now we’ll have to return these goods to them as winter is over in Bikaner and we cannot sell our goods there anymore.”

A Tibetan woman, also a hosiery trader, said, “We have had a miserable season. Goods that we had procured before the confiscation, were to be sold in Bikaner, but sales were affected due to delayed winter. We returned only yesterday from Bikaner. Here, our husbands had no money to even pay the interest on the loans they had taken from lalas to buy goods. The menfolk have gone to return the goods to lalas, but they will not return the money that they had taken from us at the beginning of the season. They will give us goods for the next season in return. However, we don’t have a storage space, so the goods might get damaged. We have no choice, but to leave these goods with lalas.”

“Lalas have been good to us as they trust us and give us goods and money on interest. We all poor people and life this year has been rather harsh. We are going back to Bir tea estate near Palampur where we have our homes. We will weave carpets for next six months to sustain our livelihood. In September, we will return to Ludhiana to resume the hosiery trade as we have been doing for decades now.”

Most of the Tibetans who talked to this reporter were second-generation Tibetans here. Their parents had fled from Tibet when China took over their country. An old Tibetan woman, Ms Mylum Sums, said, “I must be eight-year-old then and my father was a Guru there. He told his followers that it was better to die as free people than to live as slaves, before they begun an arduous journey on horseback. As we travelled all the time, I used to often fall off the horse in sleep. Many times, I thought of ending my life, but my father motivated me to survive and we reached Nepal.”

After arriving in India, some of the Tibetans got jobs in the carpet industry and the others started purchasing hosiery goods from Ludhiana to sell these in plains. The second generation went only to those places where their elders used to trade.

Though they can speak fluent Hindi and English, they have maintained their identity. They send their children to Tibetan schools. Some of them said, “Indian schools are too expensive for us, whereas Tibetan schools hardly charge us anything and keep our culture intact.”

The first-generation Tibetan couples used to have eight to 10 children. The present generation prefers to have only two or three, as bringing up more children is expensive. A woman called Bhumtso is the leader of the Tibetans who live here. She was in a hurry to reach the station to get the sacks back. These people stay in some hotels in Madhopuri and Guru Nanak Market. They said, “We cook in open here, live like poor and are not certain if we will be able to celebrate our New Year on February 27 or not.” They are financially in a fix, but derive strength from being together. “We are grateful to Mr Darshan Dawar for helping us get our goods back,” they said.

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